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Your GPA does not determine your value as a person.


I’m not a fan of mantras. I have little patience for Pinterest quotes written on a sunset background that say things like, “you have the power within” or “be the best you.” But I have found one mantra that helps me get through exam season (sans sunset): your GPA does not determine your value as a person.

Everyone in law school is smart. You got here–that alone is impressive. But in a few weeks, you’re going to get your grades. For 1Ls, they will be your first law school grades. The pressure is on.

Half of us will be below the curve. We all know that’s how it works but I’m going to repeat myself: half of the highly intelligent people who wrote the LSAT and succeeded in getting into this program will be below average. It might be you.

I’m the bookworm in my family. I’m known as the ‘smart one’–that’s part of how I define myself. It took me a while to figure out though that my parents really don’t care whether I get a B+ or A-. My sister is always going to roll her eyes and call me nerdy, despite that one time I got a C (I was devastated–now I’m over it).

Their opinions are not going to change no matter what my transcript says. I will be the same person immediately before and immediately after the grades are released. I know this seems obvious but that sinking feeling you get if/when you see that first B- can be tough. We law students tend to be confident people…until something like a crap grade makes us cringe or doubt or panic. Don’t panic! Your identity and your value as a person depend on you–not a letter grade.

I hope you get the grades you want. But if not, remember this: in a few years, you will become a lawyer and no one is going to care about your LRW mark. Alternatively, feel free to focus on how the curve is a silly way to measure knowledge since fully understanding the material is a far more logical goal than whether you can type faster than half your classmates. Whatever helps.